As I might have mentioned in my last post, I am a little late to the “My One Word” party, but I’m starting it now. The one word I chose was “Brave”. It felt like a fitting word for me to choose since I’m impossibly shy and let my fears of what others think and my fear of failure stop me from reaching my full potential. Also, I am a huge fan of the Disney movie “Brave”. I believe I am Merida reincarnated (or in my dreams I am). Since I love it so much, I already had a Merida Pop! to place on my desk at work to remind me of my One Word, and the movie is frequently playing in the background while my daughter and I do life in the house.
I know what you might be thinking. Brave is a Disney Princess movie. It’s for kids. There’s nothing in there for me. (Unless you love Disney and are an adult like me!) But there really are great lessons to be learned from these stories and characters. You can find Christ virtually everywhere. It’s really an amazing thing. Even when people who claim to not be believers and are not even trying to mirror Christ end up placing in what they create Christ’s ways, words, and characteristics. This is always so cool for me to discover because it reaffirms my faith in such a huge way.
I was first drawn to Merida of Clan DunBroch from Disney’s 2012 animated movie “Brave” like so many young girls and older women were. She was so different from any of the princesses we’d seen so far. The first, and most noticeably distinguishing quality of her was that she did not want to fall in love, get married, and start a family at the age of fifteen. (Weird, right?) She had dreams, hobbies, passions, and a yearning to lead others, not follow. Merida felt strongly that she had a calling outside of marriage, as many of us do. She couldn’t ignore that calling, what she called her destiny.
Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one’s destiny intertwines with many others. It’s the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it, but there are some who are led.”– Merida (Disney’s Brave, 2012)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”Romans 8: 28-29 (NLT)
God truly has woven all our lives together like a cloth. Our “destinies” really do intertwine with each other. Our destiny is often called by Christians our purpose and it seems like everyone on earth wants to know what their purpose is, Christian or not. Otherwise, what is the point of life? But there’s no way to figure out your purpose without God, since He is the one who bestowed the purpose on you in the first place. Following me? If you believe in Christ and follow Him, He will reveal your purpose, your calling, to you, as well as your talents and gifts. He knows that giving you knowledge of these things helps you to be more useful to His kingdom.
The second thing that made this Disney Princess so popular with the young ladies is her strained relationship with her mother. Of course, it’s nothing we hope for, but I can’t think of a single woman I know personally that has not told me about some strife or struggle with their mother. Personally, the relationship between my own is extremely strained. When I saw “Brave” for the first time I was like “That’s me! Curly hair! Loves horses! Fights with her mother! Wants freedom!” I laugh even now thinking about it. I was 25 when this movie came out and still greatly and deeply affected by my relationship with my mother from childhood (and now). Merida’s mother can be overbearing, though she seems to mean well and do it out of love. She just wants what’s best for her daughter and to give her everything she never had, which now as a mother I can understand completely. But the daughter part of me cringes every time I hear Queen Eleanor badger Merida to change who she is and not be true to herself.
A princess does not chortle, doesn’t stuff her gob, rises early, is compassionate, patient, cautious, clean, and above all, a princess strives for, well, perfection.”-Queen Eleanor (Brave, 2012)
While there are certainly some truths to her list of things a princess should do and be, it’s that striving for perfection that I have issues with. As I research my “Warrior Princess” book, the inspiration for this website, I am finding so many character traits and behaviors a real princess should possess, a child of God that is. Though God loves us as we are and doesn’t care how loudly or obnoxiously we “chortle”, he does have some to say about eating healthy and taking care of ourselves, not loving sleep too much (aka being lazy) and being a hard worker, having compassion for those struggling and hurting, patience with ourselves and others, and caution when it comes to temptations and making decisions (We should always consult God). Her list isn’t too far off, but those things should not be our calling as Queen Eleanor was making them for Merida. They are simply character traits that reflect Christ.
Watching Merida give in to her passions like archery, horseback riding, and being adventurous, always made me think about the passions God placed on my heart and why He might have placed them there. I, too, have a great love of horses and riding. I also have a passion for reading and writing, spending time with my family, doing activities in nature, and creating things artistically (whether they be drawings, computer graphics, book covers, or website design). God gave me those passions for a reason. They are to play a role in my life for His glory. I urge you to take a few moments and consider the things you’re passionate about and wonder why God may have given you those passions. How can they be used to further His kingdom, to strengthen you, to draw you closer to Him?
There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.”1 Corinthians 12: 5-6 (NLT)
The same goes for our talents. What is it that you’re good at? Something that seems to just come naturally to you? For me it is writing, for sure. I love it, I’ve been doing it all my life, and I’m good at it (Oof, that was a struggle to say!) But I am also organized. Doesn’t seem like a talent, but tell that to someone who isn’t organized and they’ll tell you it is. I also recently noticed that I seem to have a gift for forgiveness. God has placed in me an ease in forgiving others and letting their transgressions go, to give everyone another chance even if they’ve already had one or two. All these things can be used to glorify God and further His kingdom! What are your talents?
Another thing I loved about Merida was that she was a princess who made mistakes. I couldn’t remember a Disney princess before her who openly made a mistake and said “I didn’t mean to change you into a bear!” Well, you get my drift. Princesses were always displayed as perfect, unattainable even. But we’re not called to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. So long as we admit them and repent, we are forgiven. The slate is wiped clean and we can rise up in the morning knowing we are white as snow.
Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”Luke 17:4 (NIV)
Merida wasn’t afraid to be herself. She was brave! (Go figure) She wasn’t just brave because she rode horses, practiced archery, climbed mountains and drank from the firefalls. No, she was brave because she didn’t let anyone tell her who she was supposed to be. She knew who she was and never apologized for it. No matter how much her mother tried to correct her behavior or try to make her care about pretty dresses and fancy hairstyles, Merida didn’t pretend to or change her ways. She was brave because she took responsibility for her faults and mistakes and worked hard to make them right. She loved fiercely, even when she didn’t agree with the person (“Love thy enemies”, but no one ever thinks the enemy would be their own mother. I’m here to tell you oftentimes your enemy is someone in your own family whom you love. That’s the person we most often have our struggles with). She did everything she could to help others. She spoke up for what she believed in and led others in those things as well.
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”1 Peter 3: 3-4 (NLT)
We are all made uniquely, fearfully, wonderfully, and with our own ways, habits, passions, and talents. We should not conform to this world (Romans 12:2) but embrace who we are, what we like, and how we approach things. There is no one else in the world like you! And there never will be again. God made each and every little bit of you just the way you are for a reason. Take what you’ve been given and go do something with it for His kingdom!
Thank you for stopping by today! I hope you found some inspiration and encouragement for your day. Please leave a comment, story, or testimony below. We love to hear from you!